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Masekela succumbs to prostate cancer

In a rare interview, legendary musician Hugh Masekela sat down with TshisaLIVE in July 2017, just months before his death on Tuesday.

Journalist Chrizelda Kekana spoke to Bra Hugh about the reason he was so selective with media interviews and his desire to do what he was passionate about. Bra Hugh told TshisaLIVE that he just wanted to impart his knowledge and didn't bother too much about his "legacy". "I don't have any ambitions [about my legacy]. I just feel that it's work that I am supposed to do, otherwise my ancestors will punish me. Why? Because I got so much from them. But I don't have an ambitious future about 'Hugh Masekela's legacy'."

Bra Hugh said he knew he was living through his "bonus" years and wanted to live it day by day. "I don't want to live beyond where I am now… and I live it day by day. And, I think once you get too involved with your legacy and all that sh*t, you are swallowed by your own ego."

“There will never be another Hugh Masekela. That’s how cruel death is but of course all of us will follow soon or later. We see a lot of people close to us passing on but we never come to terms with death or get used to it. It always in one way or the other break our hearts. It is death, a situation whereby a person vanishes from your eyes and from the surface of earth forever. Simply put, death shocks and devastates us. It’s a fact, THE LEGENDARY HUGH MASEKELA IS NO MORE.”

On Tuesday, Monageng co-owner of Millennium Jazz restaurant and host of a jazz music show on Gabz FM every Sunday dubbed “The Joy of Jazz” remembers seeing a Facebook post from one Shike Olsen in the early morning of Tuesday, when Bra Hugh died – “Am I the only one getting the reports that Bra Hugh has passed on? I hope this is a hoax.”

“Of course Shike was not the only one who had heard of the passing on of our beloved father, grandfather, brother, uncle and great music teacher, composer, arranger and performer and activist par excellence. Indeed a lot of people had already come across the shocking and unfortunate news but just that many were still reeling at the news of his death, with shock.”

Affectionately known as Uncle Shima, the avid jazz aficionado added, “For a fact we all wish to celebrate the lives of people who have done it all in life, touched our hearts and impacted positively on us but as human beings, the first inevitable feeling you get is that of sorrow and grief before pulling yourself together and thinking of celebrating the person’s life! It’s natural to grief under such circumstances and I’m among those who find nothing wrong with people who mourn and grief the passing of their beloved ones and even do so by crying. I say to such persons, yes, go on and cry, so long as you don’t mourn and grief forever.”

On Tuesday night, Seabelo Modibe reminded us on his Facebook post to watch a tribute and repeat of Hugh Masekela’s live performance at the Market Theatre via Mzansi Magic Music channel and oh boy, what a spiritual and moving performance of the man we will never meet again on this planet.”

“He was accompanied on stage by the likes of Khaya Mahlangu on saxophone, our very own Bro Blackie John Selolwane on lead guitar, Bass was Fana Zulu and Ezbie Moilwa from Mafikeng etc. I fully concur with Seabelo when he continued to say ‘Dear Hon President… (Sic)…Your Excellency President Mokgweetsi Masisi, please honour this man with a badge, let the Presidential Honours be bigger in 2018.’ However, I would like to advocate that let’s honour them whilst they are still alive especially in direct reference to Bro John Selolwane who has been arguably Botswana’s music ambassador.”

“Another friend of mine Mcjon Mosenene posited ‘The Choo Choo has stopped moving. The flugelhorn has gone silent. Jazz has been thrown into darkness.” “My humble request would be to humbly invite Bro Jonas Gwangwa to sing, ‘Don’t let the sun dawn on you’. I say this because within a short period, we have lost a number of great musicians in the likes of Ray Phiri of Stimela, Soares Katumbela, Errol Dyers and many others. Indeed a true legend has fallen – one of the great Architects of Afro Jazz. He had a soft spot for Batswana. He taught and mentored many. He has performed in this country more than any South African legend I have known.”

“He was to perform yet again at the Hamptons in March this year but his deteriorating health got in the way. I have told a couple of my friends including the late Soares (MHSRIP) that Bra Hugh didn’t take nonsense from anybody. My first close encounter with him many years back was at Moretele Park’s Joy of Jazz Festival where he was performing. The sound was not good and he played only two songs and left the stage saying the show promoter may keep his money and he would keep his music. After many other groups had performed, the sound was next to perfection and the jazz maestro came back on stage and did what does best.”

“In one of his shows in Botswana, we went back stage with a number of friends to wait for him so that we could greet him. While on stage, he spotted us waiting back stage. There was this pretty lady who stood there with us. The lady was a bit excited and kept on shouting Hugh Masekela’s name. Bra Hugh looked back and said loudly on the mike – ‘You are making noise and you should say Bra Hugh because I’m not your cousin. Also go and take off that dead people's hair (Tsamaya oye go ntsha moriri oo wa baswi).’ The poor lady cried, embarrassed and went to her car and slept throughout the entire show.”

“I also remember at one point at one of his shows where I was not spared. I was talking to him and standing very close to him and he loudly said, ‘Guys, please tell Shimmy that I don’t need his showers! This meant as I was talking drops of saliva oozed out of my mouth. I was truly embarrassed but unlike the lady I didn’t cry or leave the festival. Bro Hugh, the Father of South Africa Jazz, was a marvel to watch on stage. Even at the time when he was living in the evening of his days, he could be seen going down (maget-down) on stage better than those who were half his age.

Rest in Peace Bra Hugh for you have seen it all, done it all and you were larger than life. You enjoyed life to the fullest and you taught us a lot and your music will live on forever since you are leaving behind scores of incredible albums. There will never be another Hugh Masekela.”

Uncle  Shima – The Joy of Jazz, Gabz FM

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WeekendLife

Feminism and Nudity still at odds

19th April 2021
Feminism and Nudity

This past week seemed like a time travel back to the early 1970’s where women were judged and stoned for what they wear, what they should wear, and whose attention their dress code will grab.

Every Tom, Dick and Harry gave their two cents on the matter, unnecessarily so. Its disheartening that in 2021 a woman is dictated to about what she should wear.

The genesis of the whole saga was because of a certified life coach and personal trainer, Agang Atlholang, derided as an example of an anti-feminist.

Atlholang updated a controversial post on her Facebook page where she seemingly attacked and dragged some women for wearing appealing clothes that leave little to the imagination.

The personal coach further went on to highlight that she could be fully clothed and be able to attract and steal some of these women’s lovers. Audacious of her to assume but more disheartening that her wardrobe is subliminally dictated by men.

It should be noted that this wasn’t her first controversial post where she has threatened or promised to take other women’s men, it may not be her last either but this post however did get on a lot of women’s last nerve.

“A woman’s sexuality is so much more than her thighs, (beep) and breasts. It’s your aura, confidence, seduction and the way you carry yourself, watching everything rock and roll in silence. I know who I am, I am a boss lady. I can still get your man without showing skin,” said Atlholang.

It is hard to place the fitness coach, is she pro-feminism or anti-feminism? Because one minute she would say something that makes sense and that almost everyone can relate to and other times she barks threats like a toothless bulldog.

She was not wrong to publicly and indirectly affirm that she doesn’t wear revealing outfits, but for her to be coming at those who do so was entirely out of line. How a woman presents herself to the world has a very little to do with a man’s preference.

Any personal liberation of what one chooses to clothe their own body is clouded by the misogynistic backdrop of the world we live in. In all cases, a woman’s body is assumed to be someone else’s before is it her own.

If she takes off her clothes, it is seen to be a sign of her insecurity and need for validation, rather than feeling comfortable with herself. Once she’s stripped, that’s all she is. This is the insidious pressures of misogyny that we all have a duty to attack and put in the past where it belongs.

WeekendLife reached out to Atlholang but her phone went unanswered. She did not respond to a questionnaire sent to her on Wednesday.
Celebrated feminist Resego Kgosidintsi says there should be no expectations on what a woman does with her body. Some women are thick and curvy, while some are slim and petite, all body types are beautiful.

Kgosidintsi uploaded two pictures on her Facebook page in which she compared herself. In one picture she was only in a bikini on the beach whereas in the other picture she was wearing formal attire. She went on to say;

“I am the woman in both pictures, my worth did not decrease on picture 2 because I revealed almost all of my skin and neither is my worth on a 100 on picture 1 because my skirt is below the knee.

I have about 7 tattoos on my entire body and that still does not make me less of a woman. I drink and smoke cigarettes too and that doesn’t mean the woman in church who doesn’t smoke or drink more woman than me. Can we respect people’s choices, can we respect women.”
Feminist, media personality and socialite, Oratile Kefitlhile shares the same sentiments as Kgosidintsi.

‘‘Feminism is subject, if I feel as a woman that when I’m fully dressed I’m celebrating my femininity, so be it. If another woman feels they are embracing their femininity more with their thighs out, that’s perfectly fine still. Let them be.

We have been preaching this revolution for a very long time of women being allowed to wear what they want, and being allowed to embrace their womanhood in the way that speaks to them, so I feel at this point we should not be having these debates,” Kefitlhile told WeekendLife on Tuesday.

Controversial poet, artist and businesswoman, Berry Heart is of the belief that women are envious towards each other. She argues that celebrating femininity has no boundaries subsequently making no one woman superior.

Quizzed on what makes women fight over small issues such as what they wear, she says “Batswana women are broken so much that we don’t want to see another woman succeeding on anything. We desire to make them dejected.”

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WeekendLife

The art of mastering instrumentals

12th April 2021
Kagiso "Fella" Kenosi

You will know a tree by its fruits, the same way you will know a music producer by their works.

Top music producers in the country have set themselves apart through the quality music they produce and reap the results of international recognition from as far as the United States of America.

These producers are behind every star performer, listening and analyzing each and every note. When artists perform a vocal swell, rising to an octave that sounds like it’s going to shatter voice box, it’s easy to forget that someone was on the other side of the glass asking questions like, “Can you hit that note every night, or will it hurt too badly? Maybe we should lower the octave to save your voice?”

Producers make hundreds of decisions in each song, not to mention the push and pull relationships they have with talented performers.These relationships can make or break careers. Some of your favorite bands and artists wouldn’t be so memorable without a great producer helping to guide their distinct voices.

Kagiso Kenosi, or better known as Fella in the entertainment industry, is only 31-years old but he has already left his imprint in the music industry. The young chap, originally from Palapye, is not in the industry to add numbers, but to do his magic working behind the scenes producing hit song after hit song.

When most producers went to school to produce the hits that we hear today, Fella’s foundation and passion for producing came from being active in church.

“I grew up in a catholic orientated family where music is the essence of our religion. The love for music in its entirety emerged from enjoying singing at church and blossomed over the years as I grew up, being exposed to the internet and software’s such as fruity loops.”

Fella says he then learnt how to make beats and proceeded with vocal processing so besides the love for music, he had an amazing group of people who helped him reach his life dream; being the best in music production. The sky was the limit for Fella.

Unfortunately for so many music producers locally, this kind of hustle is basically about being famous. Some of them bite off more than they can chew just for a quick buck that doesn’t even go a long away for them. At the end of it all, these fly by night prima-donnas end up cutting corners and producing subpar records which eventually leads to a premature death for their careers.

Fella’s advice is that fellow colleagues should be patient and continue learning the craft, even if it means taking online tutorials. “Even though I’m still learning too, for I believe music is a fast infinite universe where no one can never say they know it all, I think believing in what one does, the level of creativity and being able to stand alone can do magic.

We living in an era where people go through a lot, so it is imperative for a music producer to be able to relate to those kind of situations. This takes only the right instrumentals, which will compliment emotions of an artist.”

The most asked question outside the music industry is; who chooses the instruments for a song, is it the artist or the producer? Fella gave his take;

“I make instrumentals and keep them until an artist comes to work on a song. That’s when I advise on whether I think the concept they chose goes hand in hand with the instrumentals. We will then look for a more appropriate song.

In some cases, artists can come and we record vocals without an instrumental and then get to make a beat on top of the recorded vocal which in that case guides me to make a relevant instrumental,” he said in an exclusive interview with WeekendLife on Wednesday.

Digging more into finding the difference between a producer and an engineer, Fella clarified that there is not much difference. There is actually a thin line between the two even though an engineer does more than a producer when dishing out a song.

“We use the word production to credit people who only make beats. Engineers are people who record vocals, clean them, do the mixing and master the song preparing the record for radio. I must say an engineer, does the critical components of a song.”

As young as he is, Fella has been through thick and thin with young artists. It has been a roller-coaster of emotions, because, frankly some of these fledging artists are way too complicated to work with. Fella admits that he too has flaws but c’est la vie, you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs.

“It’s always a blessing and quite exciting because these different people of different energies and mind-sets and creativity will humble you. It’s a chastening experience and also accords me with experience to manoeuvre and adjust to people with different characters.

So truly, it has helped me grow as a person, and a producer.”

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WeekendLife

BOMU spruce up dirty laundry

30th March 2021
BOMU awards

Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) is known for its bad reputation that has been getting worse over the years. There has been a lot of chinwag, squabbles and the organization literally lost touch. It has gotten so bad that stakeholders pulled out, and members were left with no choice but to face the music alone.

Just when you’d think the waters are calm, the new Executive Committee awarded a fledgling company, Total Music Group, to handle the 2021 music awards. This move was seen as a biased decision that got BOMU members bent out of shape.

However, BOMU Secretary General, Rasina Rasina told Weekendlife that the Executive Committee that it has many irons in the fire. He indeed admitted without reluctance that, BOMU has been clouded by hubbub.

“We pledged when the new administration took over that it would begin with cleaning our own house. We have built structures as we had promised and we are glad that they are fully functional. One of those is the disciplinary committee.”

“BOMU has for a long time appeared to be lacking discipline and proper laid down procedures. This has led to the organization losing out big in its endeavour to serve its members and the entire music fraternity. The National Executive Committee, chapter committees and sub-committees have committed to ensuring that non proper governance and accountability shall take centre stage and this is all that is happening,” Rasina told Weekendlife on Tuesday.

Rebuilding and rebranding a disintegrated intuition such as BOMU is not just a walk in the park, it needs concerted efforts and team work to actually reach that goal. A stitch in time saves nine, but as for BOMU, the entire union failed to address its dares a long time ago, but the union says everything is on track in recuperating public trust and fixing the mess created then.

BOMU Research and Policy Committee is hard finalizing a new code of conduct which will contribute significantly to how members and leadership conduct themselves and relate with each other for the furtherance of BOMU’s mandate, Weekendlife has been reliably informed.

“We are doing everything according to our constitution, logic and reason. We advise our members that they should point out where the constitution has been breached and that they are at liberty to follow due process and report any misconduct to the disciplinary committee,” said Rasina.

This is following the suspension of some executive committee members and BOMU subscribed members for questioning the integrity in awarding the music awards tender. Some members, told Weekendlife that they will seek legal advice on the matter.

“We do have members who have already appeared before the disciplinary committee on various charges and decisions are yet to be taken. We also have members who are yet to appear before the committee for various complaints levelled against them. Current suspensions are related to various complaints and offences.”

With regard to appointing Total Music Group, BOMU National Executive Committee says it used Article 9.3.19 of its constitution. The article says; “The National Executive Committee of BOMU shall have the authority to enter into legally binding contracts on behalf of the Union.’’

Rasina says the leadership needed a company to manage, host and sell the BOMU awards for five years consecutively so as to attain stability and refurbish the brand image of both the music awards and the organization. “Without any money at our disposal, we debated on the best model and agreed that we should engage a company that also has the capacity to mobilize resources. We used our discretion and decided on a direct appointment model which is perfectly legal and constitutional.”

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